After months of campaigning, millions of dollars in advertising, hundreds of guild screenings and a slew of second rate awards shows, the nominations announcement for the 83rd Academy Awards is almost here. Clearly, there will be weeks of debate over who will win best picture after "The King's Speech's" upset win at the PGA Awards this weekend, but for now it's all about just making the dance. Now, perhaps it's been the thin air in Park City or the extra time to ponder possibilities in-between Sundance screenings, but there have been some last minute changes in my overall predictions which I have written about in excruciating detail since August.
One of the most intriguing revelations about Paul Giamatti in Tom McCarthy's new dramedy "Win Win" is that the critically acclaimed "Sideways" and "John Adams" star makes a pretty damn good sports coach. One of the film's key elements is that Mike (Giamatti) is the high school wrestling coach for his Alma mater. And while Mike isn't a particularly effective coach when we first meet him, as the movie goes on he gets better and better until his team pulls something of a "Bad News Bears" turnaround. I left the theater thinking Giamatti would make a great baseball manager or college basketball coach on the big screen someday and that was just one of the topics we discussed in our sitdown the day after "Win Win" premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
Now it gets interesting. In a surprising development that could be heard from Los Angeles to Park City, Utah to New York City, the Producer's Guild of America chose "The King's Speech" over "The Social Network" for best motion picture of 2010. This on the same night the organization lauded Scott Rudin, the primary producer on "Network," with a lifetime achievement award.
PARK CITY - Perhaps the hype was just a bit too much, but Jesse Perez's "My Idiot Brother" is not the slamdunk comedy most Sundance Film Festival attendees were hoping for.
Sundance Review: Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones are absolutely wonderful in exhilarating 'Like Crazy'
PARK CITY - Every year there always seems to be a movie or two that takes me completely by surprise and knock me for a loop. It's one of the joys of attending Sundance versus other film festivals -- the discovery of the truly unknown. Many of these films come immediately to mind. "Precious." "The Squid and the Whale." "Hustle & Flow." "The Kids Are All Right." "The Wackness." "Once." "Quinceañera." "Broken English." "I Am Love.""Blue Valentine." Another film will be added to the list this year, "Like Crazy."
PARK CITY - Fox Searchlight has become a staple at the Sundance Film Festival over the past decade and not just because they have acquired films such as "Napoleon Dynamite," "Once," "Little Miss Sunchine," "Garden State" and "Waitress." The company has also debuted their own features for the Park City faithful, sometimes up to a half a year before their release. The studio took chances on "The Savages," "500 Days of Summer" and "Cyrus" and were rewarded in spades with fantastic reviews across the board. This year, Searchlight has brought two of their more commercially viable films, the Ed Helms comedy "Cedar Rapids" and Thomas McCarthy's "Win Win" which debuted tonight.
If you haven't heard of Elizabeth Olsen yet, you soon will and for all the right reasons. The younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen has two films at this year's Sundance Film Festival, but it's the dramatic competition entry, "Martha Marcy May Marlene," that is a superb showcase for her talent.
You may be able to take true independent gay cinema off life support now.
After almost a decade of disappointing and at times embarrassingly bad feature films that consistently descended into stereotypical cliches, independent gay cinema may be on something of an upswing. One of the first signs was last year's Sundance hit "The Kids Are All Right." Granted, while it was very low budget for Hollywood standards, the Oscar contending "Kids" still looked and felt like a studio film thanks to some famous faces in the fold. That is certainly not the case with Sundance Film Festival opening night selection "Pariah." Shot on a shoestring budget, Dee Rees' impressive drama proves there is a lot of powerful gay stories to be told in fresh and moving ways.
Update: 11.:00 PM PST - Warner Bros. has confirmed that Eastwood is in talks to direct and Beyonce is negotiating to star.
Clint Eastwood may just be tempting fate.
The multiple Academy Award winning director and actor has been known to venture out of his damatic comfort zone with pseudo sci-fi flicks such as "Hereafter" and "Space Cowboys," but Clint Eastwood is going boldly where he's never gone before: the world of the movie musical. And not only is he going to venture into that strange unknown, he's going to do it with Beyonce Knowles as his leading lady.
PARK CITY - Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford, Director John Cooper and new Executive Director Kerri Putman answered the media's questions during the indie film event's annual kick-off press conference Thursday afternoon and as usual it was a mostly dry affair.